Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation about feminists by men or women who do not believe in feminism? In some instances, it could be a parent or person in authority that does not know much about feminism but as far as they are concerned there are very many bad attributes of those women who want to be like men.
Whenever you mention that you are a feminist or that you are advancing feminism you will actually see people cringe physically, there will be a sneer even from some women and if it is a cocktail event the circle will shrink right before your eyes.
The reason why you will see these reactions is that there are myths propagated about feminism every day and people believe them hook line and sinker. These myths have made difficult to pass very important messages such as the International Women’s day and its importance to both men and women all over the world.
It is important that we demystify these myths so as to get both men and women on board in the fight against social evils such as child marriages, gender-based violence and so on.
Before looking at the myths is important that we define feminism as a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.
As much as we are rooting for feminism we really need to acknowledge that there is also toxic feminism that has cropped up over the years. Toxic feminism is a tool some feminists have begun to use as a way to beat down others because what they are wearing, saying, doing, or sometimes even thinking is offensive to them and marginalizes women in these particular feminists eyes.
According to Michael Vogel a feminist and author at Quora, the moment it no longer becomes standing up for women’s rights and the moment it becomes sexist against men is the moment that it is no longer feminism. Such toxic feminism that will have a woman just attack men for the smallest things makes it very difficult to advance the feminism agenda or even to get them to accept to take part in it.
Now that we have defined toxic feminism let us a look at the stereotypes that are really killing the message,
Feminism wants to take over, finish men
Whenever the word feminism is mentioned somewhere someone will mention the name of Cyprian Nyakundi the self-appointed president of the boy child. Cyprian is a blogger who has started a movement that is seeking to empower the boy child which is actually a noble idea only that he is going about it the wrong way.
Instead of providing solutions on how the boy child can be empowered he is bringing women down, naming and shaming women celebrities just for divorcing their husbands and not getting married as early as he would have liked. He has managed to turn a section of the men in the country into believing that their problems including lack of employment and money stem from women who are taking over in all aspects.
He also believes that women are gold diggers, enriching themselves with ill-gotten money from men. It is totally lost on him and his ilk that we also go to school and are qualified for these positions.
Women do not want to take over from men and render them useless after all they are our brothers, husbands, fathers, and sons. Women just want to be able to get equal opportunities when it comes to education, employment, ownership of properties. So enough with the siege mentality, no one is coming for the men.
Feminists have no sense of humour and are all about complaints
Granted, some of the things that happen to women can make a feminist angry and of course, you do not expect women to take to their social media accounts all flowery and butterflies. In cases of abuse, murder and so many inequalities expect any woman to be angry but that does not mean that they are always angry. They also have a sense of humour……just attend any women function and you will realise that they can put their hair down and actually do enjoy life and good relations with men.
There are no male feminists
Unknown to many people, it is not only women who are doing much to help the cause of feminism, there are actually quite a number of men who are doing it as well. Feminism is not all about women for women but the world coming together to help women achieve their dreams to benefit the world and themselves. Many men have grasped this concept and are doing all they can to help advance it.
All feminists are lesbians
It is possible to fight for the rights of women and still like men and get married to them. Some feminists are lesbians, others are gay men, single mothers, single women and others are in heterosexual relationships. It is an all-inclusive movement and everyone is welcome to join. Feminists have also not rejected motherhood as many people would think as well. Mothers are also at the forefront of advancing feminism.
Feminism is a middle-class Movement
Feminism is not a middle-class movement as many people believe. Some of our grandparents worked hard to take both their sons and daughters to school. We have educated parents courtesy of the old men and women. Some parents living in the rural areas are also giving land and property to their daughters and not only the sons as was the norm in the past.
The middle-class might be loud about feminism on social media platforms but our parents are doing much even when it comes to fighting gender-based violence where they take back their daughters and equip them to start their businesses and go back to work in the safety of their homes. As we celebrate the International Women’s Day let us try to demystify these stereotypes as much as possible.